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Modi attends an innovation conference with Israeli and Indian CEOs in Tel Aviv.

REUTERS/Oded Balilty

The promise and peril of Modi’s success

Narendra Modi’s political juggernaut seems unstoppable.

Through a series of maneuvers — some of them questionable, if not illegal — Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP party last week took the reins of Maharashtra, India’s richest state. It was yet another victory for Modi in the run-up to elections in 2024, when he is expected to secure a third term.

But Modi’s take-no-prisoners style of governance, coupled with a weak opposition, a compliant judiciary, a supine press, and a society struggling with weakened civil liberties, is increasingly threatening the pillars of the world’s largest democracy.

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Marcos attends a news conference at his headquarters in Manila.

REUTERS/Lisa Marie David

What We're Watching: Marcos inauguration, Indian religious tensions, risotto shortage

Will Marcos 2.0 be kind to the Philippine media?

Weeks after winning the election in a landslide, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (aka Bongbong, or more recently BBM) will be inaugurated on Thursday as president of the Philippines. He has a lot on his plate, including uniting — as he promised repeatedly during the campaign — a country deeply divided over the legacy of his father, the late dictator. One issue that'll surely pop up soon is how he'll handle the media, which was heavily censored under the elder Marcos’ martial law. On Tuesday, the Philippine SEC ordered the shutdown of Rappler, the news site run by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa, a vocal critic of outgoing strongman President Rodrigo Duterte. BBM will also face pressure to return a broadcast franchise to ABS-CBN, the country's biggest network, which Duterte canceled in early 2020 (and Marcos' dad also took off the air entirely in the 1980s). Supporters say Marcos 2.0 wants to kick off his presidency with a charm offensive to appease his enemies, but he may have more of a problem with his most powerful friend. Overturning two of Duterte's most controversial decisions would not go down well with the famously pugnacious outgoing leader — whose feisty daughter is … Marcos’s VP.

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Afghan men sell Taliban flags outside the former US embassy in Kabul.

REUTERS

Can a deadly quake inspire change for Afghanistan?

Struggling with a drought, economic collapse, famine, and an enemy more extreme than themselves, the Taliban now face Afghanistan’s worst natural calamity in years.

More than a thousand people were killed in last week’s earthquake, and while humanitarian organizations are eager to help, there is a gap in the international relief effort. Questions about recognizing the Taliban during this time of crisis, or working with the Islamists for the long-term development of the country, come sharply into focus.

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An oil pump is seen at sunset near Reims, France.

REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

Does the world really need more oil right now?

We’ve heard dire warnings in recent weeks from oil industry analysts and professionals about how already-high oil prices could rise to record levels in the coming months. Goldman Sachs has increased its price forecast for the second half of the year to $135 per barrel. Trading giant Trafigura predicted that prices could rise even higher to over $150 per barrel.

Underpinning these alarms are fears that the war in Ukraine will lead to a big fall in Russian crude production and exports. Ever since Russia invaded its western neighbor, markets have been on alert for signs of acute disruptions that would squeeze crude supplies.

But what if they are looking in the wrong direction? What if the fixation on the risk of a supply shock (losing Russian barrels) is diverting attention from a very real weakening of global demand for oil?

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Annie Gugliotta

BRICS vs. the West

Before the heads of the world's most "advanced" economies meet this weekend in Germany for the annual G7 summit, the leaders of the top five "emerging" ones — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, aka BRICS — are holding their own (virtual) summit in Beijing on Thursday.

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Which Authoritarian Is “Best of the Worst”? | Gideon Rachman's Favorite Strongman | GZERO World

Which authoritarian is “best of the worst”? Gideon Rachman's favorite strongman

Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs columnist at the Financial Times, has just published a new book about autocrats, so Ian Bremmer puts him on the spot on GZERO World.

Which one appeals to you the most?

"That is difficult. I wouldn't say ... I'm running desperately through my head," says Rachman, before settling on one autocrat he's not a fan of but concedes is at least "an interesting figure."

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Why Strongmen Hate Minorities | GZERO World

Power from demonizing the “other”: the FT's Gideon Rachman on “strongmen”

Autocrats know resentment against minorities is always a good pitch to fire up the base.

Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times, explains this common tactic taken by strongmen leaders around the world, in a discussion with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.
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People participate in the March for Our Lives on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

What We're Watching: US gun-control deal, Indian protests, Macron's majority, Biden goes to Saudi

US Senate reaches compromise on guns

On Sunday, a group of 20 US senators announced a bipartisan framework on new gun control legislation in response to the recent wave of mass shootings. The proposal includes more background checks, funding for states to implement "red-flag" laws so they can confiscate guns from dangerous people, and provisions to prevent gun sales to domestic violence offenders. While the deal is much less ambitious than the sweeping ban on assault weapons and universal background checks President Joe Biden called for after the massacre in Uvalde, Texas, it's a rare bipartisan effort in a deeply divided Washington that seeks to make at least some progress on gun safety, an issue on which Congress has been deadlocked for decades. Biden said these are "steps in the right direction" and endorsed the Senate deal but admitted he wants a lot more. The announcement came a day after thousands of Americans held rallies on the National Mall in the capital and across the country to demand tougher gun laws. Will the senators be able to turn the framework into actual legislation before the momentum passes?

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